He has the daunting task of finding a perfect balance within a team and creating a batting order that is solid top to bottom, while suiting each hitters strengths.
For one more season, the responsibility of filling out the Blue Jays lineup card belongs to Cito Gaston.
Here is where the strategies of the current and previous managers conflict. On one hand, John Gibbons tinkered with the lineup way too often. On the other, Cito Gaston seemingly refuses to mess with the order once his players get comfortable.
So piecing together the quotes from Cito, I've assembled what I deem to be the Opening Day lineup and therefore the lineup that will likely be used for most of the season.
Then I took it one step further; I looked up the players career stats (AVG, OBP and SLG) hitting in that particular position. The results might surprise you ...
I hate to say it, but the manager might actually be on to something here. While some are groaning at the possibility of Jose Bautista hitting at the top of the lineup, his career .359 OBP fits in with the reasonable expectations for a leadoff hitter. Against right-handed pitchers? Well, that's a totally different story.
Hill and Lind are fine where they are at the number two and three slots. Despite the controversy about Adam Lind not feeling "comfortable" hitting cleanup, after taking a look at the stats, he actually has much better numbers batting third. If Cito want's to be cool uncle Cliff and keep Lind there, that's fine by me.
Perhaps most puzzling was Cito's announcement that he was going to make Vernon Wells the new cleanup hitter. This is the very same slot in which Wells spent the first 82 games of the 2009 season while tallying a mere 36 RBI's.Wells isn't a beast hitting in the cleanup spot, but there are certainly much worse candidates that Cito could go with.
As far as the rest of the lineup goes, things can be tweaked here and there.
Snider's numbers are grossly skewed because he only spent 16 games hitting in the seventh spot. If Cito is following his montre and trying to figure out where the guys are most comfortable, Snider should slot into the ninth spot. However, by hitting seventh Snider gets a little protection from Overbay and Encarnacion and also has the potential to drive in more runs.
Programming note: Unfortunately, due to tonight's Canada/Russia game, there will be no Live Chat this evening. The Live Chat will return as regularly scheduled for next week, because frankly, I don't want to upset the Hockey Gods.